Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 1-3 Linfield

Sat, 30/03/2024 - 00:51

Glentoran supporters left the Bet McLean Oval at 9.30pm this evening reconciling themselves to a fourth trophyless season in a row following a frankly half-hearted exit from the Clearer Water Irish Cup in this Big Two home semi final.

Declan Devine made just one change from last week’s 4-0 win over Ballymena United, with a recovered  Jay Donnelly returning for his first start since the sixth-round game at Ballymacash. Junior was on the bench. This was Jay's 150th game for the club.

The Glens started positively enough but were unable to get a shot away in the first goalmouth action after 5 minutes. This was followed by a similar attack by Linfield but the ball went across the Glens goal and out for a goal kick.

We should have taken the lead after 26 when – in a move similar to moves that led to goals in our last 2 games – Aidan Wilson headed a Shay McCartan free kick teasingly across the Blues’ goalmouth but James Singleton just wasn’t able to get a head to it so it went out for another goal kick.

That was really it for the Glens as on 33 minutes we went a goal behind. Frankly it was a goal we’ve seen countless times in recent years as from a teasing cross the ball was headed by a Glentoran defender straight to the feet of an unmarked striker in the middle of our box. The striker this time was Joel Cooper who easily hit the ball first time past Aaron McCarey.

Up to that point it was an even game but Glens heads went down to the point where Matthew Fitzpatrick headed an easy chance over the bar just before half time.

Half Time: Glentoran 0-1 Linfield

Photography by PACEMAKER

Seven minutes after the break the game was effectively over as a contest when Kyle McLean scored the Blues’ second. The similarities with the opener were striking as a Glens defender again cleared the ball to an unmarked Linfield player in our penalty area. This time it was Kyle McClean who made the most of the opportunity by drilling the ball home through the 7 Glentoran players between himself and the Glens’ net.

Glens made 2 substitutions on 58 minutes with the introduction of Rhys Marshall and Junior. We actually rallied after this with firstly James Singleton heading just over then Shay McCartan unluckily hitting the post from outside the box with a great shot following some brilliant interplay between himself and Jay Donnelly.

With 9 minutes to go we had a glimmer of hope when Junior swivelled on a Paddy McClean cross to half the deficit. But that hope lasted just 4 minutes before the Blues got their third. This time a corner was again headed out to an unmarked McClean on the edge of our area. Again McClean had all the time he needed to drill the ball past – again – 7 Glentoran players and into the net. So that was that!

So another performance in the same vein as most of our others v the two table toppers this season with no lessons apparently learned. We are now under the charge of an experienced-manager but surely its time these players – a number of whom have been here for at least 3 of the 4 trophyless seasons – need to ask some serious questions of themselves. They also need to find some answers with a maximum 7 games left to get us into Europe and salvage at least that from this season.

Full Time: Glentoran 1-3 Linfield

Glentoran: McCarey, Wilson, Singleton, McCullough (c), McClean, Sule, Burns (Marshall 58), O’Connor, McGinn (Junior 58), McCartan, J Donnelly.   

Subs (Not used): Webber, Kane, Murphy, Lindsay, Russell